“Along the Bridge: The Films of Frank Perry”
by Matthew Mandarano
It’s closing in on 15 years since director Frank Perry’s untimely death from prostate cancer at the age of 65. A maverick, yet underrated filmmaker, Perry was not necessarily the auteur of future contemporaries like Scorsese, Coppola and Spielberg; however, his contributions to cinema in the decade before these iconoclastic directors, helped pave the way for the independent cinema that would be nurtured in the 1970s and explode through the 1980s and 1990s.
Though his films contain an interesting level of technical brevity, Perry was not a technical director in the same sense as Stanley Kubrick. He was a humanist, a storyteller whose style was influenced by the deep, often complex, psychological backgrounds and struggles of his characters. In 1993, Perry himself put it best when he said his films were about, “humanism, with that which celebrates what is to be human: vulnerability, fallibility, fragility.” In analyzing the films in his body of work, it is evident that this was what was at the heart of a Frank Perry picture – the human element, whether triumphing or faltering to the struggles surrounding.
Susan Isaacs, best-selling author and screenwriter of two Frank Perry films (Compromising Positions and Hello Again), in remembering Perry and what he looked for in a film recalled, “He was drawn to the richness, he needed a good story…a combination of important and potentially successful. Important in that it could be conceivably, in his hands, the best of its kind. Whether it was a comedy or something like The Swimmer. Whatever it was, he wanted it to be recognized as first rate.”
Perry was 31 at the time he directed his first feature, David and Lisa. He had been involved heavily in stage productions, including a stint with the Theater Guild in New York City as a stage manager and associate producer, before turning his sights to directing films. In 1961, when he and his first wife, Eleanor, began looking for a story to turn into a low-budget feature, the Hollywood Studio System still largely ran the film industry. The idea of raising funds from small investors and making films without the backing of one of the major studios was a new and innovative approach – a forerunner to the influx of independent cinema to come in the following decades.
Though many productions produced outside the confines of the Hollywood system were rarely finished, or faltered both critically and commercially if completed, the Perrys were hopeful and invigorated by the recent success of such pictures as John Cassevettes’s Shadows (1961). It was Eleanor’s daughter, Ann, who brought the book “Lisa and David” by Brooklyn psychiatrist Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin to her mother’s attention. Immediately, the Perrys knew what their story would be. Eleanor wrote the script based on the book, which dealt with the growing relationship between a schizophrenic girl and a young man who is deathly afraid of being touched for fear of dying.
Once the script was completed, the couple budgeted the film out at $200,000. Perry, who had spent time fund raising while at the Theater Guild, sent letters out to 500 prospects that had previously invested in stage productions. Much to his surprise and chagrin, the effort proved fruitless, and within three months the Perrys were living primarily off of their Diner’s Club card. It was many more failed contacts and one major backer pulling out later before the couple finally found solid footing from a textile manufacturer who needed a tax loss. With the textile manufacturer’s $60,000 investment, Perry and first-time producer, Paul Heller, were able to secure the rest of the necessary funds to complete the film from small block contributions.
The film was scheduled for a five-week shoot and almost everyone involved in the making of the production were novices in regards to narrative filmmaking. It was Perry’s first time as a film director; Eleanor’s first time writing a script; Paul Heller’s first time producing; and the most experienced of the two leads, Keir Dullea, had one picture under his belt. The most experienced person on set, at least in feature films, was veteran actor, Howard Da Silva, who played psychiatrist Dr. Swinford – primarily out of the joy of having work for the first time in almost 12 years due to being blacklisted by the House of Un-American Activities Committee through the majority of the 1950s.
Perry, who asked Heller, “Paul, how do you make the camera start?” the night before the first day of shooting, brought the film in on time and under budget. The premise of the film is quite simple: two youths, both with their own psychological problems that hold them back in society, meet each other and, ultimately, help each other get over their mental and emotional blocks.
Dullea, who plays David, and Janet Margolin, who plays Lisa, are wonderful in the title roles. When the movie was filmed in 1962, many performances in contemporary films were still laden with melodramatic acting techniques, which were carried over from the 1950s. Both Dullea and Margolin’s performances in David and Lisa are acutely naturalistic. Some reason may be due to the naïveté of the actors to the medium, but much lies in the hands of Perry. The way in which Perry presents a story on the screen is always character-centric. If it can propel his characters forward and help them closer achieve their goal and aspirations, then the take is print-worthy.
Many who worked with Perry on set remember his speed and diligence. If he saw what he wanted in the first take, then that was the take that was printed. What he looked at was the actor, or more so, the character portrayed through that actor. The set design, camera movement, lighting and other motivating factors in a Frank Perry picture, though expertly timed and quite fluid the majority of the time, seem to always be just tools to help motivate the characters and the story being told.
David and Lisa went to the Venice Film Festival and won Perry Best Film by a New Director. In addition, Eleanor was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award and Frank would garner his only Academy Award nomination, for Best Director. Critics praised the film and it went on to become not only a critical, but also commercial, success around the world. This laid the foundation for Perry to practically pick his next project – he was an overnight sensation.
He and Eleanor were deluged with scripts and books in consideration for their next picture. However, it would not be an epic or star-studded spectacular they chose for their follow up film, it would be another character-centric piece that deeply studied the effects of human psychosis.
Ladybug Ladybug, which was released one year after David and Lisa, is a biting drama on the effects of paranoia and panic that America was experiencing during the height of the Cold War. The film depicts the reactions of a group of rural school children who are evacuated by teachers due to a defense system warning of impending nuclear attack. Though it is unclear whether or not the system is faulty, the effects of fear on the human psyche are explored throughout the film. This exploration, somewhat amplified due to the fact that children are more pre-exposed to fear than adults, leads to an overwhelming study of impending doom and the length one will go to protect themselves or, at least, feel protected.
Following a brief foray into television with a series of Truman Capote-written holiday films (A Christmas Memory and Thanksgiving Visitor), Perry returned to the big screen with an adaptation of the John Cheever short story The Swimmer. The film, shot in 1966, was not released in theatres until 1968. Perry left near the end of production due to creative differences – Sydney Pollack finished the remaining scenes.
The story centers on Ned Merrill, played by Burt Lancaster, a businessman and presumably well-regarded member of a small suburban town outside of Westport, Conn. A father of two girls and a loving husband, he seems the epitome of the American Dream. The movie, as was the short story it is based, is a surreal metaphorical examination of Merrill’s life.
In the beginning, Merrill is presented as jovial and youthful. He is at a neighbor’s house after a party the night before. Everyone regards Merrill with respect and fond remembrance. In looking over the community before going home, Merrill constructs the idea of “swimming home.” He plans to achieve his idea by swimming in every neighbor’s adjacent pool and a community pool until he gets to his property on the other side of town.
As he begins swimming from pool to pool, however, the once youthful and full of life Merrill seems to become more and more weak. The opinions of Merrill in the community, likewise, become less admirable. It is alluded to that he has been laid off and that his family isn’t still together as the picture goes on. By the end of the film, after a visit with a young girl whom once had a crush on him and a former mistress, Merrill is a beaten man, weak with anguish and despair. When he finally gets home to his house where his “wonderful girls” are supposed to be playing tennis, it is shown that the house has long been abandoned and fallen into a dilapidated state. The final scenes depict Merrill beating the locked door of his former home as rain begins to pour in droves – a man who lost everything, fighting to get back what he once had.
Elements of The Swimmer seem deeply rooted in a European style of filmmaking. The pacing and deeply metaphorical subject matter that have a certain dream quality to them are quite reminiscent of, primarily, Italian Cinema of the time. Perry, who quoted Fellini as an influence, appeared in archive footage in the 2000 documentary Fellini Narrates: A Discovered Self-Portrait. This European influence on Perry’s work seems most evident in The Swimmer, though traces of European style appear in several of the following films he directed.
Last Summer, which was released in 1969, was Perry’s follow-up to The Swimmer on the big screen. The film was based on the novel by Evan Hunter and, again, scripted by Eleanor. Though Last Summer is small in scale in regards to actors and locale, the story and acting is top notch. The story focuses on a group of four adolescents and their coming-of-age summer on Fire Island. Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas, Bruce Davison and Catherine Burns portray the characters of Sandy, Peter, Dan and Rhoda, respectively.
In the beginning of the film, Sandy, a beautiful, tanned girl from an affluent background, finds a seagull that has caught a fishing hook in its throat. Peter and Dan, seemingly typical blonde teenage beachcombers, are walking down the beach with a radio and find Sandy with the seagull. They help her dislodge the hook from the bird’s throat and, henceforth, form a triangular niche of sorts, hanging out, drinking and even swimming nude together. It is unclear whether or not Sandy is a virgin, though it is confirmed that both Peter and Dan are. Throughout the course of the film, the trio exudes an enormous amount of sexual tension between each other without actually depicting any form of true sexual contact.
As the narrative progresses, a shy, not as attractive or socially vivacious, fourth party enters the niche; this is the character of Rhoda. Though the trio of Sandy, Dan and Peter hang out with Rhoda and invite her to their various outings most of the time, it is constantly felt that Rhoda is not really “part of the group.” Rhoda’s social awkwardness is further explained in a breathtaking scene midway through the film in which the character tells of her mother’s death by drowning. Burn’s performance in this scene is absolutely mesmerizing and exemplified by Perry’s decision to leave the camera in a static close-up through the majority of the monologue. Burns, subsequently, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in this film.
Though Rhoda’s part in the group is unclear at times, Peter begins to grow closer to her and, when he is away from Sandy and Dan, is quite genuine and sweet. At one point on the beach, when it is just the two of them, Peter kisses Rhoda and seems very true and grounded in his feelings towards her. However, when Sandy and Dan are present again, these feelings seem more apathetic.
The final climatic scene of the film, which really helps explain the dynamics of the group, where the characters stand and the often brutal, unremorseful decisions that are sometimes made by youth, is as powerful today as it was in 1969.
Last Summer is generally considered one of Perry’s best films, and it’s easy to see why. It is powerful, well acted, brilliantly scripted and precisely directed. The common thread of a Perry film shines throughout – a character driven story that proves socially viable for both its place and time.
Also, in 1969, Perry theatrically released a compilation of the Truman Capote based television programs he directed for ABC several years prior. The film was released under the title Trilogy. Though the three stories aren’t necessarily connected through any other means than being Capote penned, each part is well made and each examines the complexity of human relationships. The first installment, Miriam, focuses on the relationship of self; the second, Among the Paths to Eden, deals with the more common idea of relationship between a man and a woman; and the third, A Christmas Memory, examines friendship between an older, slightly off woman and a young boy.
Each of the three stories have tremendous performances by the female leads, Jane Connell, Maureen Stapleton and Geraldine Page, respectively. Perry’s ability to coax great performances from female actors is truly evident here, as it was in Last Summer, and continued in his next film after this one, Diary of a Mad Housewife. Trilogy was one of two American films that would have competed in the 1968 Cannes Film Festival; however, due to a student revolution in France, the film was not screened.
Diary of a Mad Housewife followed a successful format, that by this time, the Perry’s seemed to have mastered. Eleanor adapted the film from the novel by Sue Kaufman, which centers on a frustrated New York housewife. Carrie Snodgress, who won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance, played the wife; Richard Benjamin portrayed her husband; and Frank Langella starred as the playboy author whom she has an affair with.
This sort of sharp drama is where Frank Perry seemed top of his game. Like Last Summer, David and Lisa and The Swimmer before, Diary of a Mad Housewife is an intriguing study of social mores in upper class circles. Carrie Snodgress’s character, Tina, is the wife of successful lawyer, Jonathon. They live in a posh Manhattan apartment and she is every bit the typical housewife, cleaning, keeping house, raising the kids and cooking the meals. Jonathan is very type-A and one of the most awful characters, without actually being evil, that I have seen put on screen. He is condescending, spiteful, critical and unappreciative of almost anything and everything that Tina does, yet primarily in an indirect manner.
Tina, who is passive, withdrawn and generally accepting of this tortuous behavior, begins an affair with a young author, George Prager. Coincidentally, Prager’s treatment of Tina is only a minuscule amount more appropriate than her husband’s. In the end, after finding out her husband has also been having an affair, it is seen that Tina is in a psychiatric group session. Some members of the group seem to support her decision to leave Jonathan and get away from the verbal, indirect abuse; whereas, others blame her for not appreciating what she has and implying she should be thankful.
The final shot, a tight close-up of Tina listening patiently to the various group members’ opinions, leaves the audience to decide on their own. This final scene also leaves the viewer to wonder, if this is her account of the story, can it be bias? Is Jonathan really that verbally and emotionally abusive to her? Who is the victim after all? All of the performances are top notch, the dialog is smart and sharp and Perry’s direction is quite unobtrusive and leaves a quite open visual canvas for the viewer to fall into.
This film would mark the end of the partnership, both personally and professionally, of Frank and Eleanor; they divorced in 1971. Eleanor would only script one more film, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, in 1973. She had difficulties finding further work in the film industry, instead completing several teleplays and novels until she died of cancer in 1981. Frank’s first film without Eleanor as the screenwriter would be his first and only true western, “Doc”.
“Doc” is a modern spin on the events surrounding and leading to the gunfight at the O.K. Corral with “Doc” Holliday and Wyatt Earp. The film is commonly considered a “revisionist” western, as it borrows many attributes in both style and pacing of spaghetti westerns such as Once Upon a Time in the West and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Rather than being a personification of the typical Hollywood western, where action motivates the plot; “Doc” is more of a character study of Holliday, Earp and heroine, Katie Elder, in the events leading up to the showdown. Stacy Keach, Harris Yulin and Faye Dunaway portray the roles of Holliday, Earp and Elder, and all do a good job in solidifying the believability of the period and bringing a more human quality to the legendary status of the characters.
Perry’s handling of the western genre seems quite adept. It’s interesting to note that a similarly handled “revisionist” western, McCabe and Mrs. Miller by Robert Altman, was released just two months prior to “Doc” in the summer of 1971. Had one or the other been released in some kind of succession to provide adequate time for screening of the other before production, then it could be assumed that one would be heavily influenced by the other. However, maybe it is the common thread of the times that started the birth of the “revisionist” western around this time in the early 1970s; after all, I’m sure American Cinema was eager to counter the success of the Italian spaghetti western since the western itself could arguably be considered the only truly American genre of filmmaking.
Perry’s most experimental film was probably Play it as it Lays, his next release after “Doc.” The film which focuses on the downtrodden events of actress Maria Wyeth’s life, portrayed in a Golden Globe nominated turn by Tuesday Weld, is a cynical, acidic look at the Hollywood of the 1970s. Wyeth is married to hot new director Carter Lang, an egomaniacal auteur whom is casting his upcoming third film. Their relationship is strained by a daughter in an institution, a recent abortion and pressures of prior success attributed from Wyeth’s previous roles in Lang’s movies.
The story is told in a series of vignettes that mix elements of the past, present and future, including clips from the film-within-a-film, fictional Carter Lang’s first movie, Maria. Maria is a documentary-style introspective of Maria herself, focusing on her life, trials and tribulations. The experimentations in narrative storytelling mixed with vocal stances on social issues of the time such as abortion, institutionalization and homosexuality, make Play it as it Lays a very modernist film. This continued genre experimentation by Perry points to the universal abilities he had as a director and, though there are films in his catalog both before and after this one that didn’t fully succeed, many were brought off with an air of brevity that helped cement the reputation of his contemporaries in American Cinema.
Man on a Swing brought Perry into the realm of suspense for the first time in his career. Like many of his prior works, Man on a Swing was based on a book; however, this time, like Ladybug, Ladybug, the subject matter was non-fictional. William Arthur Clark, a local newspaper reporter whom covered the story in direct contact with the police at the time, chronicled the actual events of the case in the book “The Girl on the Volkswagen Floor,” of which the film is based.
In the film, Cliff Robertson plays a tough Ohioan police chief, Lee Tucker, who is investigating the recent murder of a young schoolteacher named Margaret Dawson. In the midst of the investigation, he receives a strange phone call from a self-processed clairvoyant, portrayed by Joel Grey. Grey’s character, Franklin Wills, though intent with helping solve the case, seems to only create more questions. When frightening knocks at the door and strange letters are received at Tucker’s residence, he begins to suspect Wills as either the murderer or an accessory to the crime.
When a second murder is predicted by Wills and actually happens, this time to a 12-year-old girl, Tucker is convinced of Will’s involvement. Yet again, however, evidence plays into Will’s favor when a young man comes forth with information leading to the arrest of the murderer. The ambiguity of the final scene leaves the viewer, and Tucker for that matter, with the hauntingly unsure feeling of what role exactly this strange psychic played in the two murders.
The film works really well as a thriller and the mystery is kept in the air at all times. Some scenes, including a climatic scene in which Tucker runs into the rain at night trying to find a unidentified person whom has been harassing his pregnant wife, keep you right on the edge of your seat. Grey’s over-the-top performance as the entranced clairvoyant is equally as tense-inducing to watch.
In 1975, after 12 years of dealing with primarily dramatic material, Perry directed his first comedy, Rancho Deluxe. The film has a rather simple, straight forward premise: two cattle rustlers named Jack and Cecil, played by Jeff Bridges and Same Waterston, are intent on making a killing off wealthy ranch owner John Brown, played by Clifton James. Brown’s ranch hands, Curt (Harry Dead Stanton) and Burt (Richard Bright), join up to help and Brown, suspicious of Curt and Burt, hires famous cattle detective Henry Beige, expertly portrayed by Slim Pickens.
The film itself was not well received critically and follows a rather loose story structure. However, the performances, comedic situations and style are very eclectic in retrospect and the Jimmy Buffet score adds a nice touch. Surprisingly, the film hasn’t garnered much of a cult following, though it could easily be seen how it could. Bridges’ usual charm shines through and the supporting cast of James, Stanton and Pickens creates some very well timed situational comedy. Though the film doesn’t retain the same critical elevations as some of his earlier work, this buddy comedy is well worth the time and leaves a satisfactory feeling in the end.
Perry made his second foray into television production with the 1979 made-for-T.V. movie Dummy and for a pilot for a short run television series called Skag starring Karl Malden. His return to the big screen was with one of his most famous, or more appropriately infamous, films, Mommie Dearest, based on Christina Crawford’s book about growing up with actress Joan Crawford.
Mommie Dearest, which was released in 1981, has become today somewhat of a, if not full blown, cult classic. Whenever the film is mentioned, it seems to ignite someone in the general vicinity to start screaming, “No more wire hangers!” Though the film did receive five Razzies, including Worst Picture of the Year, it was a commercial success. In theatres alone, the film grossed over three times its budget and has been extremely successful on home video formats.
A large part of contention with the film is Faye Dunaway’s performance as Crawford. There is no denying that it is over the top and extremely melodramatic at times. However, does that mean that it is particularly a bad performance? Or bad film for this matter? In analysis, if Crawford was truly as she was described by Christina, then she had to have had some kind of mental illness. There are many illnesses or afflictions that can rile dramatic behavior of this sort and, most likely, many readers have probably had some familiarity with someone of this nature in their own personal or professional lives. Furthermore, if you analyze the style of acting that was predominately favored in the 1930s through the 1950s when Crawford herself was at her prime, one will see that it is indeed melodramatic.
Some will not ascribe to this justification, but when I saw the film, that is how I reacted to Dunaway’s performance. The film is not a masterpiece, but it’s also not a bad film. It follows a well-made biopic format and has some really dramatic, hair-raising scenes in it if one can justify the nature of the performance by Dunaway. Also, much overlooked, is the performance of Mara Hobel, which I think is excellent in her portrayal of a young Christina.
Monsignor, released the year after Mommie Dearest, would become Perry’s biggest critical and commercial failure. The film dealt with the monumental sins of a Roman Catholic Priest, portrayed by Christopher Reeve, during his rise through the ranks of the Catholic Church. Perry’s reputation was somewhat dampened following this film and it would be three more years before he released another picture.
“Compromising Positions,” the novel, was released in 1978. Warner Brothers almost immediately bought the rights for a five-year period. After the time lapsed without going into production, the rights reverted back to the author, Susan Isaacs. Perry had an interest in turning the book into a movie soon after it was published; however, it would be after the rights reverted back to Isaacs before he was able to fully pursue the idea.
“He was attracted to books because a book, novels, are character driven, as was his work,” remembered Isaacs during a telephone interview.
Isaacs further recalled that during Warner Brothers acquisition of the rights, several scripts were penned based on the novel, neither of which she felt was true to her original material. Perry took the chance and let Isaacs, who at that time had never written a screenplay, adapt her own novel for the screen. Perry and Isaacs mapped out the script to 88 scenes and Isaacs went off to write the script.
The completed film was released in 1985. It starred Susan Sarandon as Judith Singer, an ex-journalist, present housewife, who begins independently investigating the murder of a local, adulterous dentist, Dr. Bruce Fleckstein. In the process, she becomes further involved and questioned by the authorities, as well as putting herself in danger from the killer-at-large and uncovering a lot of secrets in the community. The film, part-detective movie, part-comedy, is suspenseful at all the right places, yet filled with the wonderful wit Susan Isaacs is known for.
Isaacs was able to spend a good deal of time on set during the shooting of Compromising Positions. On Perry, as a director, she recalled, “He was socially delightful. A director has to have some power and ability to get people to do what he wants them to do. Some do this through intimidation or power of their genius. I think Frank’s big gift was through charm and making people say, ‘Oh, I’ll do this for you because this is fun!’”
Perry and Isaacs both enjoyed working together on Compromising Positions. So, when Isaacs had an idea for another script, Perry was quite interested in coming on board to direct. Their second and final film together was Hello Again, released in 1987.
Hello Again is a zany comedy featuring Shelly Long, Judith Ivey, Gabriel Byrne and Corbin Bernsen. It deals with the death, and subsequent resurrection, of Shelly Long’s character, Lucy Chadman, by her spiritually obsessed sister, Zelda. Though the film is not one of his better rated, it was a somewhat commercial success and for the style of film, as good as many from the same era in the same format. It is essentially a mix of a screwball comedy and a romantic comedy; very light in tone with many silly scenes. Ivy’s performance as Lucy’s sister, Zelda, is one of the standout parts of the film and Gabriel Byrne, as always, does a fine job as an emergency room physician, and subsequent love interest of Lucy’s, whom tried to revive her before she died.
In regards to Hello Again, Isaacs commented, “The same producer [who produced Compromising Positions], [Salah] Hassanein, wanted to do this one, but the big difference was that he almost immediately sold it to Disney…. they were monstrously involved; I wound up collaborating with them and sabotaging my own script. It went from being a joyous thing…. to something that was more studio driven.”
After a brief stint as the head of Corsair Pictures, a small motion picture production company that released three features in the late 1980s, Perry directed his final film and a bittersweet bookend to his career. In 1990, Perry was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His documentation of his disease on film over the course of slightly over a year became the documentary On the Bridge, released in 1993.
The film follows Perry through doctor’s visits, various procedures related to his therapy, interviews with fellow cancer patients, reminiscent monologues on his life both past and present and explorations of new medical techniques that might be beneficial towards a healthy recovery. Every step of the way Perry seems to have optimism and a zest for life and living, even when on the beach he satirically thinks of suicide on film when joking with his cinematographer, Kevin Keating. His ideas about and towards the people and procedures he has to encounter and endure throughout his journey with cancer elucidate the kind of person Perry was and what so brightly shone in each of his films.
He was interested in people, life and how we live it, whether it was through joyous times or times of trouble and heartache. Like most directors, the ideas in his films seem to be as important as the stories themselves. What you take away from a Frank Perry picture, whether it was good or bad, is an analysis of the human nature and spirit. No filmmaker deserves praise for each of his or her works, but it seems Perry’s body of work has been, undeservedly, largely forgotten.
Out of all his films, only five are readily available on DVD. Some of the others are available on VHS, though many are not even easy to find in that form! Some of his best works, such as Last Summer and Diary of a Mad Housewife, have to be tracked down through cinema connoisseur’s collections or bought on VHS at an exorbitant price through online retailers such as Amazon or Ebay.
The final scenes of On the Bridge end on a positive note with Perry enjoying one of his favorite pastimes, skiing. However, just two years after the release of his final film, Perry died of complications from cancer at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan on Aug. 29, 1995, eight days after his 65th birthday.
Following his death, Perry’s third wife, Virginia Ford Perry, started the now defunct company Bridgefilms, Inc. The prospectus of the company was to make films that would propel the use of alternative treatment for cancer patients. They were to produce a film version of Myron Sharaf’s Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich, though the project never came to full fruition. At the time of this article, no major retrospective of Perry’s work has been presented.
Canby, Vincent. “’Mommie’ – A Guilt-Edged Cariacature.” New York Times. 8 Nov. 1981, New York final ed.: Section 2; 13.
Darnton, Nina. “Susan Sarandon Shapes a Sleuth in a Murder Movie.” New York Times. 1 Sep. 1985, New York final ed.: p1
Darnton, Nina. “Her Wit and His Heart Make a Movie Team.” New York Times. 12 July 1987, New York final ed.: Section 2; 32.
Farber, Stephan. [untitled review of Last Summer]. Film Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 1 Autumn, 1969: 50-51
Geracimos, Ann. “Frank Perry Finds Bliss in His Work.” The Washington Times. 14 May 1993, Washington final ed.: E2
Gussow, Mel. “Frank Perry, 65, the Director Who Filmed ‘David and Lisa’.” New York Times. 31 Aug. 1995, New York final ed.: p15
Lax, Eric. “Film;…And Frank Perryu Fights On in ‘On the Bridge’.” New York Times. 3 Oct. 1993, New York final ed.: p13
Martin, James. “To Life.” American Magazine, May 1995: 26.
Maslin, Janet. “’Monsignor,’ Dishonest Priest.” New York Times. 22 Oct. 1982, New York final ed.: Section C: 6.
Natale, Richard. “Frank Perry.” Daily Variety. August 1995.
Trombley, William. “David and Lisa.” Saturday Evening Post, March 1963: 56-60.
“Film Company Set By United Artists.” New York Times. 15 March 1988: p5.
David and Lisa. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Keir Dullea, Janet Margolin, Howard Da Silva. Lisa and David Company, 1962.
Ladybug, Ladybug. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Jane Connell, William Daniels, James Frawley. Frank Perry Films, Inc., 1963.
The Swimmer. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Burt Lancaster, Janet Landgard, Janice Rule. Horizon Pictures, 1968.
Last Summer. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas, Bruce Davison, Catherine Burns. Alsid Productions, 1969.
Trilogy. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Jane Connell, Maureen Stapleton, Geraldine Page. 1969.
Diary of a Mad Housewife. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Richard Benjamin, Frank Langella, Carrie Snodgress. Frank Perry Films, Inc., 1970.
“Doc.” Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Stacy Keach, Faye Dunaway, Harris Yulin. Frank Perry Films, Inc., 1971.
Play it As it Lays. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Tuesday Weld, Anthony Perkins, Adam Roarke. F.P. Productions, 1972.
Man on a Swing. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Cliff Robertson, Joey Grey, Dorothy Tristan. Jaffilms, Inc, 1974.
Rancho Deluxe. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Jeff Bridges, Sam Waterston, Clifton James, Slim Pickens. Elliott Kastner Productions, 1975.
Mommie Dearest. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid, Mara Hobel. Paramount Pictures, 1981.
Compromising Positions. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Susan Sarandon, Raul Julia, Judith Ivey. Blackhawk Productions, 1985.
Hello Again. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Shelley Long, Judith Ivey, Gabriel Byrne, Corbin Bernsen. Touchstone Pictures, 1987.
On the Bridge. Dir. Frank Perry. Perf. Frank Perry. Bridgefilms, Inc., 1992.